Are you making customers an offer they can’t refuse?

Written by Mike O'Riordan

I was reading an article in Forbes Global just before Christmas entitled ‘The Undeaded’. The article consideredrepparttar great number of software companies who have been losing millions of $ and eating into their cash mountains built up by raising equity funding inrepparttar 127223 late 90’s. The software industry is of great interest to me and this made me think aboutrepparttar 127224 strength of their Sales Propositions. Arerepparttar 127225 companies and their products searching for problems to solve? Are their propositions delivering real business advantage for their clients?

The issue of preparing and developing strong and robust propositions which deliver advantages torepparttar 127226 customer, is a common problem for companies and professional firms throughoutrepparttar 127227 land - and one not always well addressed.

The absence of a strong, coherent proposition which benefits customers is often one ofrepparttar 127228 weak links in building a successful and profitable sale and hence a viable business. A great deal of money is invested inrepparttar 127229 employment of salespeople,repparttar 127230 introduction of marketing programmes, networking and other ‘set piece’ events to generate interest in a product or service butrepparttar 127231 return on investment is dramatically reduced becauserepparttar 127232 proposition presented torepparttar 127233 customer is weak, misunderstood and lacks ‘beef’ and ‘sizzle’!

It’s like providing a mountaineer with eight days rations for a ten-day journey. He will run out of energy before he climbsrepparttar 127234 peak. This equally applies torepparttar 127235 businessperson who is unable to efficiently articulate his / her sales proposition with sufficient knowledge, empathy and understanding and consequently losesrepparttar 127236 sale.

The sales proposition must always be framed to meetrepparttar 127237 needs and wants ofrepparttar 127238 customer. [A quick working definition of these terms: ‘needs’ are logically-based requirements; wants are deeper, emotionally-based desires]. This is achieved first by asking in depth ‘open’ questions to discoverrepparttar 127239 needs and wants ofrepparttar 127240 customer. It is a great (but very common) mistake to launch into telling your potential customers your proposition before understandingrepparttar 127241 relationship between their needs and wants and your proposition.

What do I mean by proposition?

The proposition is built in detail by assemblingrepparttar 127242 features ofrepparttar 127243 product or service, together withrepparttar 127244 advantages these features deliver forrepparttar 127245 customer. The appropriate business advantages are listed alongside together with relevant proofs to supportrepparttar 127246 claim. The strongerrepparttar 127247 proofs are in supportingrepparttar 127248 advantages,repparttar 127249 strongerrepparttar 127250 proposition andrepparttar 127251 betterrepparttar 127252 impression made onrepparttar 127253 potential customer. With a thorough understanding ofrepparttar 127254 features, advantages and proofs associated withrepparttar 127255 proposition,repparttar 127256 easier it will be to askrepparttar 127257 right questions and discover whether your proposition matchesrepparttar 127258 needs ofrepparttar 127259 customer. There is a strong correlation between a successful sales result and a well constructed sales proposition, professionally delivered after (and only after)repparttar 127260 customer’s needs have been comprehensively understood and summarised.

Why not try this as a practical example?

Go to your local car showroom and show interest in buying a car and make a checklist to see if you are asked some ofrepparttar 127261 following questions. These questions should be asked byrepparttar 127262 salesperson before he provides you with any information or explanation as to his sales proposition.

·What do you use your car for? ·How many passengers do you usually carry inrepparttar 127263 car? ·How many miles do you expect to travel inrepparttar 127264 car per year? ·What’s your average journey mileage? ·What kind of things do you need to carry inrepparttar 127265 car? ·What performance are you looking for from your car? ·How important is fuel consumption to you? ·How important is luxury and comfort relating to your purchase? ·Who will berepparttar 127266 main driver ofrepparttar 127267 car? ·How important is reliability of service for you? ·Are there any other things I should know about regarding your planned purchase?

There are many other questions, which could be asked to find outrepparttar 127268 needs and wants but I do not intend to cover them all in this brief article.

Ifrepparttar 127269 needs ofrepparttar 127270 customer are to userepparttar 127271 car for pleasure, to travel 6000 miles per year with an average journey of 10 miles and to carry one passenger occasionally, then speed may not be so important but low fuel consumption and low cost insurance might be. With good questions he might ascertain thatrepparttar 127272 main user will be my wife. Comfort and good quality stereo together with a good security system might therefore be important. Can you see how by askingrepparttar 127273 questions you are building a profile ofrepparttar 127274 needs and wants ofrepparttar 127275 customer?

You are now able to ensure that when you ultimately present your proposition to highlightrepparttar 127276 features, advantages and proofs which matchrepparttar 127277 needs of your customer,repparttar 127278 proposition will become so much more meaningful and powerful in his eyes. Equally, in a worst case sense, if your product or service does not meetrepparttar 127279 requirements ofrepparttar 127280 customer you will at least gain credibility by recommending another company or product.

My experience of visiting many car show rooms with my wife last year was not good. The salespeople asked very few questions. They supplied brochures, price lists but, critically, paid little attention to my wife who wasrepparttar 127281 decision maker in this purchase as she was to berepparttar 127282 main driver ofrepparttar 127283 car. (This of course raisesrepparttar 127284 subject ofrepparttar 127285 decision making process itself but we will leave that for another day). What’s your experience of buying a car?

How To ‘Cross-Sell’ And ‘Sell Up’ Over The Telephone

Written by Jeff Downs

Call centres are a land of missed opportunities. Every call whether inbound or outbound is an opportunity to make a sale or to build a pipeline for a future sale. Atrepparttar very least there is scope for selling a bigger quantity (selling up) or to sell additional products / services (cross-selling). Here’s a 10 point plan which, if implemented will vastly improve call centre productivity.

1. Prepare for each call

·Adjust your mindset. Helping your customer to buy more products and services that are beneficial to them is first class customer service ·Decide in advance what customer commitment you would like byrepparttar 127222 end ofrepparttar 127223 call. Is it an order or is it commitment torepparttar 127224 next stepping stone?— e.g. to take another follow-up call next week or an introduction torepparttar 127225 real decision makers or influencers ·Prepare your opening andrepparttar 127226 questions which need to be asked to define needs and wants for your propositions (see below).

2. Know your sales propositions

To take a simple, neutral example, if your product is a coffee cup that keepsrepparttar 127227 coffee warm 4 times longer that an ordinary cup. Definerepparttar 127228 potential WIFM (‘what’s in it for me?’) forrepparttar 127229 customer. It could be thatrepparttar 127230 user loves hot coffee and won’t drink it cold. This means that every time they have to take a call or are interrupted they have to re-visitrepparttar 127231 vending machine. This might take them 5 minutes which on an average day could cost them 20 minutes total. (1hr 40mins per week). What else could they be doing with their time? What’srepparttar 127232 opportunity cost and what’srepparttar 127233 direct cost in terms of salary? Once these costs are quantified they representrepparttar 127234 real value of your proposition.

3. Definerepparttar 127235 questions to be asked

Have a list of questions to ask that lead to defining needs and wants for your propositions. Customer needs are logically based. For example, I need a car to get me from A to B and almost any car will get me there. I want a BMW because I enjoyrepparttar 127236 kudos and prestige. Needs arerepparttar 127237 tip ofrepparttar 127238 iceberg and are very easy to identify (by you, and your competitors too!). Wants are much harder to access andrepparttar 127239 seller needs to developrepparttar 127240 trust ofrepparttar 127241 customer which is built on personal credibility and trust coupled withrepparttar 127242 ability to ask intelligent, incisive questions; and of course, harnessingrepparttar 127243 skills to actively listen torepparttar 127244 answers in order to summariserepparttar 127245 customer’s needs and wants accurately and concisely.

4. Motivaterepparttar 127246 customer to answer your questions.

Many ‘chat-show’ hosts are not particularly good at questioning and yet their guests are open, and usually effusive withrepparttar 127247 information they give. Why? Because they are motivated to do so because they are usually there to promote a book, film or suchlike. To facilitate a similar environment when making or receiving calls we must: a) take control ofrepparttar 127248 call and b) motivaterepparttar 127249 customer to answer our questions. For example: “Mr Brown, in order for me to make sure that I tell you aboutrepparttar 127250 products and services that are most relevant to you, may I first of all ask you some questions to define your potential requirements?” Or, “Mr Brown, to enable us to ensure that we are an effective provider for ABC Limited it is essential that we have an up to date picture of your situation and requirements, so would you mind if first of all I ask you a few questions?”

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